I attempted some hiking this weekend, managing only to make the drive up Clingman’s Dome in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and do the 1/2 mile “hike” to the tower on top. It was cool, but mainly because the weather was terrible, and terrible weather tends to make for good stories.
Most everything was uneventful, but I did see this:
My first East Coast bear! I saw two bears in Yosemite earlier this year, the first was frightening, as we happened upon him off-trail, but the anxiety quickly subsided. This black bear was rooting around on the side of the road; I was able to double back in my car and get a few pictures, from maybe 15 feet away. It was a little larger than a big dog, and indifferent. After years of hiking and camping out here, I have finally observed a legitimately interesting wild animal in the flesh!
Next step: Bear Wrastlin’!